Exchange students visit capital, work with other international students

While visiting with Hagan, Timothy Munene and Deborah Saki got their picture taken with the North Carolina senator.

Two of McDowell’s foreign exchange students were recently chosen for a week-long trip that helped them explore the history and government of the United States.

Early College students Timothy Munene and Deborah Saki were selected from among thousands of other Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange Study Program students for a week-long trip to Washington, D.C.

“We went there to learn about American civil society, American history and also to brush up on our leadership skills,” said Saki.

Munene shared what he will remember about the trip.

“We also had the chance to have meetings with the North Carolina governor and senators like Kay Hagan and Richard Burr,” said Munene. “That was a really good experience because we never get to do that in Kenya. We had the chance to attend the House and the Senate meetings and that was really cool as well.”

During their trip, the teens met 98 other foreign exchange students from different countries and worked with them on projects.

“All the foreign exchange students attended group sessions and discussions where we worked on a project together,” said Saki. “At the end of each project, we came together as a group and discussed different issues.”

Both teens have taken different things away from their trip to D.C., but one common lesson they learned during their time in Washington was to stand up for the things they believe in.

“This trip has triggered something in me that has made me realize that if there is no one else to stand up for an issue I believe in, then I should stand up,” said Munene. “It’s really opened my mind to see things different and see the world in a different perspective.”

In order to be chosen for the trip, Munene and Saki both had to write essays about any political, economic or social issue in their home countries and get letters of recommendation from their teachers.

From there, they were selected for the limited trip spots based on the quality of the submitted work.

Both Munene and Saki have enjoyed their time in McDowell and look forward to their remaining stay in America.

Munene will head back to Kenya and Saki will return to Ghana at the end of school in June.